“I don’t design clothes, I design dreams,” Ralph Lauren famously said. We’re not sure if the two entrepreneurs behind new Dubai menswear label Dorian C Grey have ever met the American designer, but we have a strong feeling they’d get along pretty well. For dreams are the design ethos of Marlon Weir and Zafar Ahmad, the two designers behind the label.
Launched earlier this year and mostly made-to-order, Dorian C Grey is not for the fainthearted, says Weir, an American, who has a background in art, philosophy and marketing. His partner, Zafar Ahmad, an Omani-Kashmiri, comes from an art and architecture background. And together, their creations, many featuring bold prints and colours, have caught the fancy of the UAE’s fashion set.
The Directory caught up with the designers to talk art, design, fashion and the challenges of setting up a label.
Q: Why did you decide to start Dorian C Grey?
Marlon Weir: We realised what we wanted to wear was not readily available anywhere. We are those dreamers that imagine, achieve, implement and execute - and so are our clientele. Dorian C Grey represents the modern man with a classic, timeless sensibility. We represent the jet setter, the artist, the entrepreneur, the dreamer and the one who pens his reality.
Q: Would you say fashionable men are underserved in the UAE?
Weir: There are many choices for fashionable men in the UAE, but there are not many differences within these choices. That being said, there is a certain solace in assimilation and continuity, which is why this path is well traveled.
Q: How would you describe your design ethos? What are your inspirations?
Zafar Ahmad: Design for us is something that is not done but lived. It’s a characteristic that becomes a habitual pre-occupation.
We look to the architecture of nature for inspiration, which holds the answers to all things and the explanation to things conjured.
Q: How many collections have you made?
Weir: We are working on our third collection, which will be based on the modern male silhouette and have a palette based in monochrome. Expect suits, evening wear, shirts and elegant trousers - with strong outlines, elegant tailoring and crisp execution.
Q: Tell us about the latest collection and inspirations?
Ahmad: Our current collection is Faute de Mieux, which translates to a desire for something more. We have interpreted this visually as large prints, bold colors and natural forms.
Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in starting up the label?
Ahmad: We have faced the same challenges as any other start-up, but chief among these is visibility. The digital landscape of today’s market has loaned itself to our needs in the form of a global platform that we continue to put ourselves to task to utilise to its fullest.
Q: What are your price points? Tell us a little bit about the process.
Weir: Our price point starts at around Dh3,000 for a suit and Dh400 for a shirt. We also design signature pieces like robes, dress trousers, loafers and unique limited-edition concept pieces. Our materials are sourced from around the world and manufactured both locally and abroad.
*To make an appointment with Dorian C Grey, call 050 8438400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org